White Sox’ bats sizzle in fourth straight win
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org June 3, 2011 11:02PM
Carlos Quentin gets a high-five from Juan Pierre after blasting a three-run homer in the fourth. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP
Updated: September 24, 2011 12:23AM
The White Sox’ motto of “All in’’ goes beyond an ad campaign. General manager Ken Williams made the decision before the season to go “all out’’ toward a pennant push.
And just because the team has struggled in the first two months, Williams has no qualms about staying the course.
“What good is it to lay the hammer down on anyone when you are all collectively trying to get the goal you set out to accomplish accomplished. I don’t get it,’’ he said Friday. “If I get to the point where I see some things not getting done to the level I want them done and I’ve addressed them and given people a chance to correct them, now we have a different story. They know that.’’
Votes of confidence for manager Ozzie Guillen and his coaching staff are less Williams’ concern than the continuing belief his assembled talent, including free-agent acquisition Adam Dunn, will gel sooner than later.
Sooner is coming soon enough. The Sox extended their winning streak to four with a 6-4 victory against the Detroit Tigers. They snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Tigers and gained a game on them and the division-leading Cleveland Indians.
“A win is a win, and you’ll take it,’’ Guillen said.
Guillen was peeved about missed opportunities early but happy about more good pitching from Mark Buehrle (5-4) and closer Sergio Santos (10th save) and the return of the long ball in summer-like weather.
The Sox scored in the first without a hit after starter Andrew Oliver (0-1) loaded the bases with a hit batter and two walks. Oliver might have escaped had he not grabbed Alex Rios’ comeback and thrown to first instead of trying for a force at home.
The scoring was more normal later. Carlos Quentin cracked a three-run homer (his 14th) in the fourth, and Brent Lillibridge (seventh) and Juan Pierre (first) added solo shots in the fifth and eighth, respectively.
“Juan’s was the biggest because you go into the last inning a little more comfortable,’’ Guillen said of owning a two-run cushion. “The last couple of years in April, Juan has struggled, but all of a sudden he turns it around. I’ll never give up on Juan.’’
Pierre had one of the defensive highlights of the night as well, making a catch at the wall on Alex Avila with the bases loaded that saved more than one run from scoring. Third baseman Brent Morel also made two defensive plays that kept runs off the board.
Santos got the final out of the eighth and three in the ninth, including a strikeout of Miguel Cabrera, who was the potential tying run.
“I guess they thought we were going to pitch around him, but I would never put the tying run on base,’’ Guillen said of a visit to the mound before Cabrera batted with first base open.
Buehrle has won four of his last five decisions as part of a continuing six-man rotation and is 3-1 with a 3.76 ERA in his last four starts.
“As long as they pitch OK and the bullpen is good, I don’t mind,’’ Guillen said. “It’s working pretty good, and we’re not losing many games because of pitching.
“I’ve got six, a lot of [teams] have two,’’ he said. “I’m lucky.’’
Meanwhile, the Sox had 11 hits, giving them five consecutive home games with 10 or more hits and double-digit hits in 15 of their last 26 games.
“It seemed like every inning we had bases loaded or one or two guys on base, but Carlos had a good swing and finally cashed some in,’’ catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.